RIM Announces Slacker, MySpace, and Microsoft Live Search for BlackBerry
Proving that Apple isn’t the only cool kid in town when it comes to mobile apps, today RIM announced three big partnerships with Slacker, MySpace, and Microsoft (yes, Microsoft and BlackBerry are working together). Here’s the rundown on what to expect from these apps, in order of impact. Slacker Application for Blackberry The iPhone has Pandora. And now the BlackBerry has Slacker–or at least it will in October. This personal radio application will be free, and will allow users to listen to their favorite customized stations on the go. The big difference between this app and Pandora is that you don’t need a 3G connection to rock out. Just as with the Slacker Portable player, you music is cached on the device. You’ll be able to fine tune your stations by clicking on the Favorite and Ban icons. Slacker Premium Radio customers ($7.50 per month when you sign up for one year) will get unlimited skips, the ability to keep any songs they hear, and the ability to request songs and have them automatically added to your stations. Assuming this service works over stereo Bluetooth, I could imagine many people using this service at home with more powerful wireless speakers, as well as in the car with a Bluetooth speakerphone or in-car Bluetooth system, thus obviating the need for a satellite radio subscription. We hope to go hands on with this app soon. MySpace Application for BlackBerry This app enables MySpace users to get real-time status and mood updates; find, add, and respond to friend requests; and use their BlackBerry’s camera to shoot and upload pictures for easy sharing. You can also view and comment on friends’ photos. The highlight though is the full messaging interface, which includes comments and bulletins. On the desktop/Web side, the BlackBerry Hub feature will alert users when the MySpace app becomes available, provide video tips, and include a marketplace showcasing games and ring tones. Plus, there will be a section dedicate to BlackBerry applications. Microsoft Live Search Given the close relationship between Google and BlackBerry, and the fact that Microsoft and RIM are fierce competitors in the smart phone space, we find this announcement a bit odd. But what do consumers get out of it? RIM says that BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to use Microsoft Live Search as their search engine of choice within the BlackBerry Browser, as well as access Live Search on Mobile.BlackBerry.com. In addition, BlackBerry users will also be able to use Live Search to perform contextual, location-sensitive searches or look for nearby points of interest from inside BlackBerry Maps. This app will be available later this year.